18/12/2003

Pharminox Licenses Novel Cancer Research Programme from CRT

Oxford, 18 December 2003 - Pharminox Ltd (“Pharminox” or “the Company”),, the private UK oncology company, today announced that is has signed an agreement with Cancer Research Technology Ltd (CRT), the technology transfer company of the charity Cancer Research UK, to license exclusive worldwide rights to a novel, late-stage research programme focused on cyclohexadienone-based small molecules (“Quinols”) in the field of cancer. The programme, which currently comprises two structurally distinct series of compounds, emanates from the laboratories of Professor Malcolm Stevens OBE, Director of the Cancer Research UK Experimental Cancer Chemotherapy Group at the University of Nottingham. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

In tests carried out by the US National Cancer Institute, compounds from the Quinols programme have shown encouraging in vitro anti-tumour activity, particularly against renal and colon cancer, as well as melanoma. They are believed to act, at least in part, by inhibition of thioredoxin, a protein that plays a central role in intracellular redox homeostasis. There is a growing body of scientific evidence to suggest that thioredoxin is involved in a number of different cell signalling pathways known to be linked to tumour growth, and it may therefore represent an important new target for cancer therapeutics.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Dr Chris Wright, Chairman of Pharminox, said, “This is a significant milestone for Pharminox, as it represents our first in-licensing agreement since the Company’s formation, and significantly strengthens our portfolio. We are very pleased to have been able to secure the rights to this exciting research programme, which offers the prospect of a completely new class of anti-cancer agents. Our intention is to progress one or more lead compounds from the programme, with a view to selecting a clinical development candidate within the next two years.”

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